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Fat Guy

Decaf tea

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Is there a consensus among serious tea people as to whether decaffeinated tea (actual decaf tea, as opposed to herbal infusions) can be legit?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Can be legit? They aren't GOOD, at least the ones I've tried. But if you need something non-caf and you don't like herbal teas, why not drink decaf tea if you don't mind the taste?

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I've had a couple that are quite good (and I am fairly picky about my tea).

I like the Decaf black sampler from Adagio

Because the "flavors" mask the "cardboardy" taste I note in most decaf teas - particularly the blacks.

The decaf Earl Gray is also quite good.

Republic of Tea has an excellent British Breakfast decaf tea

and my favorite of all "flavored" teas, the Blackberry Sage decaf - which comes in tea bags

I have served both of these to pretty picky tea drinkers and they had no idea the teas were decaf.

The Ginger Peach Black decaf is okay but is not as good as the Blackberry Sage.

I haven't tried any of their green decaf teas.

I was given a tin of a decaf green tea from Serendipi Tea last year and have been slowly working my way through it.

It is excellent but I am not a huge fan of green tea to begin with so have not brewed it as much as I have the blacks. It's the plain one from Korakundah Estate.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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Personally I'd recommend to drink more tea and thereby build up a tolerance level for the caffeine :biggrin:

Maybe I'm a bit of a snob, but besides an occasional Earl Grey or Chinese Jasmin tea, flavored teas doesn't hold much appeal for me. My preference lies with (Chinese) green teas and I rather doubt that the decaffeination process for green tea leaves a result that is drinkables without added flavors. Besides, I haven't seen decaf teas around here very often.

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If you have a sensitivity to caffeine I would recommend drinking green tea and oolong tea. What I like about these is that many varieties stand up to multiple steeps and if you have a caffeine sensitivity you can steep for about half the recommended time and pour it off and drink the subsequent steeps. In some cases I actually prefer the second steep to the first. For instance, Dragon Well & Pi Luo Chun in the greens and Organic Iron Buddha in the oolongs. 

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Hi - we are new to this forum and look forward to many interesting topics! We agree with the post from Natures Tea Leaf, that if you have a tea that you really like and want to reduce the caffeine content, you can do a "wash" of the tea and re-steep it. Read more here: How to Decaffeinate Your Tea in 3 Simple Steps.


Teas that are decaffeinated commercially most often use a method utilizing CO2 or a direct method using an organic solvent. The major difference would be the amount of beneficial polyphenols that remain in the tea leaves -- most of the polyphenols remain with the CO2 but not the direct method. Also, there may still be residual caffeine in decaffeinated teas, but for the most part, they're legit! Enjoy tea always!



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In Britain, we love our tea.  Drinking tea is very popular here.  I don't think too many people drink de-caf tea though.  However, de-caf coffee is relatively common.  Back in the 1990's I used to drink de-caf tea regularly.  I liked it a lot and found it to be a good drink (with milk). I used to buy it in loose leaf form not teabags. So, for me de-caf tea is legit.  However de-caf tea disappeared from the supermarkets for a while and I never went back to it. 

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I do think that people should be drinking more decaf tea. I myself used to drink tons of soda, coffee and non-decaf tea and every day, anytime I drank anything it would be like my body would require it to have caffeine in it. It was so hard for me to get myself out of drinking non caffeinated beverages. The process was horrible, I had headaches, I was cranky, I had bad withdraws, I wanted to have some sort of caffeine all the time, but now I do drink non-decaf tea, coffee and soda but I now drink A LOT of water. It seems like since I started drinking water, I have felt better!


Well that's my opinion.

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David Darby

Food Journalist & Store Owner


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